Remember the old tag line "Is it real or Memorex?" That's how closely your life must imitate God!
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Ephesians 5 (ESV)
imitators of God,
as beloved children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ
and gave himself up for us,
a fragrant offering
and sacrifice to God.
and all impurity or covetousness
even be named among you,
as is proper among saints.
4 Let there be
nor foolish talk
nor crude joking,
which are out of place,
but instead let there be thanksgiving.
5 For you may be sure of this,
who is sexually immoral or impure,
or who is covetous (that is, an idolater),
has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words,
for because of these things
wrath of God
comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not become partners with them;
8 for at one time you were darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Walk as children of light
9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),
10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness,
but instead expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
13 But when anything is exposed by the light,
it becomes visible,
14 for anything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Look carefully then how you walk,
not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the best use of the time,
because the days are evil.
do not be foolish,
but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not get drunk with wine,
for that is debauchery,
but be filled with the Spirit,
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
→ 22 Wives, submit
to your own husbands,
as to the Lord.
the husband is the head of the wife
even as Christ
is the head of the church, his body,
and is himself its Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ,
so also wives should submit
in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives,
loved the church
and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her,
having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 so that he might present the church to himself
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 In the same way
husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh,
but nourishes and cherishes it,
just as Christ does the church,
30 because we are members of his body.
shall leave his father and mother
and hold fast to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.”
32 This mystery is profound,
and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
let each one of you love his wife as himself,
and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5 Summary
Christians are called to be imitators (literally: mimics - v1) of God. This means you must make evert effort to resist the distortions the sinful world seeks to conform you to.
Even seemingly insignificant distortions can wreck the entire image, so Paul writes that there must not even be a hint (v3 NIV) of sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk (literally 'moronic words') or coarse jokes (v3-4). Maybe you're pretty good at this, or maybe you struggle with it. But what about what you watch and listen to?
Remember: you are what you eat... and watch on TV... and listen to. There must not even be a hint of these sinful influences in your life.
The second half of chapter 5 is often pointed to by people who claim the Bible is irrelevant for the 21st century and that its misogynistic in how it teaches that women must live in submission to men.
Certainly there are lots of sad occasions in history when this teaching has been isolated from its context and used as rationale to maintain abusive environments. But when it's read along with the whole of Ephesians, it quickly becomes clear that it is wholly incompatible with any form of abuse.
Yes, women are called to submit themselves to their husbands (v22), continuing a pattern set forth in creation. But husbands are called to an even deeper submission: to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This sort of love does not tolerate even the slightest abuse (not even a hint). v33 summarizes this difficult passage nicely.
Don't let the world define your understanding of God's Word. Keep reading it for yourself!
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father God exemplifies the love we must follow (v1)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is (v17)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: